Preventive Vs Predictive Maintenance

Two main areas you will come across in maintenance encompass preventative & predictive maintenance. While Reactive maintenance does play a part, today’s focus is on the main differences between Preventive & Predictive maintenance practices.

Both these maintenance methods aim to reduce the likelihood of machine failure – while increasing the reliability of assets.

To increase vessel productivity and decrease asset downtime while reducing long-term expenses, an effective asset management strategy must be implemented.

And although they have the same goal and are complementary to each other, preventive and predictive maintenance are not the same, so understanding when to use each in your strategy is imperative to your planning.

The main difference between these two maintenance methods is that preventive maintenance is scheduled regularly, whether daily, weekly, or monthly routine, while predictive maintenance is scheduled on demand, based on an asset’s condition.

In a marine setting with modern advances in technology; managing both of these aspects of maintenance within an engineering role can become challenging, which has seen the rise of Planned Maintenance software(PMS) within fleet management. You can learn more about PMS & SMS systems here.

To understand the differences between Preventative & Predictive maintenance, we will expand on each concept and the approaches that can be implemented.

What is Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance also referred to as planned maintenance, is a type of maintenance performed cyclically on pre-determined assets to optimize their working conditions. With regular technical checks, the engineering team has the chance to change parts, and make adjustments before any sign of malfunction appears. 

Assets are taken offline at a specific time while preventive maintenance tasks are completed.

The goal of preventive maintenance is to extend the life of assets, increase productivity, improve overall efficiency, and reduce maintenance costs. In a marine setting, the periods of measurement are usually based on date/time, hours run, or fuel burned.

Fleet engineers or Chief Engineers outline a routine of work to be performed under these measurements by the crew. And that’s preferably run through modern PM software to streamline planning and implementation.

A well-run preventative maintenance plan for ships usually means the parts removed during the service are typically still in working order. This allows the removed items to double as emergency spares should a failure occur before landfall is made and no other spare is held in stock, optimizing stock levels during operations.

How to Implement a Preventive Maintenance Program

As a marine manager, fleet manager or chief engineer, implementing a preventive maintenance program might be one of the best long-term investments you can make for your fleet and/or vessel. 

Everything starts with choosing the assets that are going to be included in the program. If it is your first time planning a PMS schedule, we recommend that you start by reviewing all the maintenance manuals, state & federal requirements, as well as flag state requirements. Adding all these workflows into a reliable PMS for tracking and alerts.

Each maintenance point of an asset should also be assessed for its critical importance/relevance from an operational standpoint and scheduled out as outlined by the manufacturer’s specifications.

Traditionally, maintenance tasks were outlined in spreadsheets, however, due to the scope of maintenance that is required these days – the most efficient way to do it is through maintenance software.

Through a complete Planned Maintenance software(PMS), facility managers can:

  • gather crucial data about asset performance
  • schedule maintenance tasks
  • assign technicians
  • monitor progress in real-time, and more.

Masters & Marine Engineers, who will be performing the maintenance, also benefit from the software. They can provide real-time data about pieces of equipment back to management, allowing for requisition of parts, or planning of works upon returning to port.

What is Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses condition-monitoring techniques to track the performance of machines during normal operations, detect possible defects, and fix them before the assets break down. An example of this is oil analysis. In a larger marine engine, it is not feasible to replace the oil at regular intervals due to the associated costs. Instead – sediments & contaminants are monitored through regular testing to track and predict any issues before they manifest. Other associated means of predictive maintenance include, but are not limited to, thermal imaging of electrical boards & ultrasonic readings of bearings or hull thickness.

In an effective predictive maintenance plan, maintenance is only performed on assets when it is required. This decreases the cost of spare parts and the time spent on each asset while minimizing downtime.

Predictive maintenance programs, when implemented correctly, have been shown to lead to a 10x increase in ROI and an almost 30% reduction in maintenance costs.

Predictive maintenance has been enabled by advances in technology to also connect your asset to modern PMS systems through sensor data, allowing visual tracking of your assets, and adding to the overall reliability of your systems.

How to Implement a Predictive Maintenance Program

While preventive maintenance is easier and cheaper to implement, predictive maintenance reduces the amount of downtime to the minimum possible and long term is a far more effective cost reduction maintenance tool.

However, implementing a predictive maintenance strategy is slightly more complex than executing preventive maintenance.

Predictive maintenance requires the implementation of either Internet of Things (IoT) sensors connected to maintenance software to track the true utilization of an asset, or the use of expensive equipment to monitor fluctuations/changes during routine inspections. 

IoT sensors send out signals to the maintenance software, so fleet & chief engineers always have the most up-to-date asset utilization data easily accessible.

You can set up modern PMS software to automatically produce an alert or generate a work order whenever the system detects that an asset is operating outside predefined conditions and parameters.

With these alerts, your maintenance team will know it’s time to act. The team can also use the PM software to verify data about the asset, which helps them to judge what type of work needs to be done.

Final Thoughts

Ideally, a professional asset management strategy would include both techniques because a professional maintenance plan works better when they are implemented together. With the advent of technology – trying to track maintenance planning of any scope and expect it to be implemented with any accuracy at all, has moved far past spreadsheets. 

An accurate PMS that works to a company’s needs, while also implementing efficient predictive & preventative plans, is imperative to a vessel’s upkeep and operational status before you even consider the costs involved with inefficient maintenance planning.

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